How I Met Your Mother

Season 7 Episode 10

Tick Tick Tick

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 14, 2011 on CBS

Episode Recap

"Kids, Einstein was right. Time moves at different speeds. For Barney, the previous night raced by in a blur, but then, all of a sudden… time stopped."

Barney and Robin are in bed, stunned at what has just happened. Robin is upset with herself for cheating on Kevin, and while Barney is sorry to have cheated on Nora, he is not upset, but since Robin is trying to rationalize that the sex meant nothing, Barney follows her lead. Robin maintains that they should say nothing to Kevin and Nora: "We made a horrible mistake." Suddenly, Robin remembers that all four of them will be attending a work cruise party the next evening and is frantic at the idea of behaving as if nothing had happened. "I just want this whole night to fade into history . . . it's a three hour boat ride. What could happen?" she insists. "That's what Gilligan said," mutters Barney. (CREDITS)

Ted has tickets for "GroovA Palooza", a concert featuring "all the smug hippy bands from the 90's in one big concert." He has even scored a bag of "sandwiches", which Lily refuses as a future parent. Marshall is "indignant": "How could you even think of such a thing, Ted?" and then hisses "I better get my $60 back!"

The next night at the concert, Ted pulls out the "sandwiches", and at first Marshall refuses, saying that he has promised Lily to be responsible. "You aren't getting your money back," says Ted, and Marshall quickly takes a hit of the "sandwiches." After a few hits, Marshall and Ted are wasted, and Marshall panics that Lily will find out that he has been indulging. However, Marshall inadvertently tells her that he is high, and Lily demands nachos, sine she can't have "sandwiches." Marshall and Ted leave to get Lily's nachos.

On the cruise, Barney asks Robin how she's doing. "Well, I'm about to be trapped on a boat all night with a guy I cheated on, with the guy I cheated with, and with the girl with the guy I cheated with cheated on." As the time approaches for Kevin and Nora to arrive, Robin panics. Barney suggests grabbing a lifeboat and returning to the apartment to destroy the tape of them 'doing it' ("Wait – there's a tape?!" exclaims Robin) and escaping somewhere to have a new life together, "someplace simple, like Vermont – or Dubais." Robin is taken aback: "Is that what you want – for us to be together?" Barney is saved from answering by Kevin and Nora's arrival.

At dinner, Barney is visibly nervous, tripping over innocuous comments in his guilt, "Robin and I were just cheat . . . uh, chatting . . ." After a few slip-ups, Kevin suggests that Barney is nervous about meeting Nora's parents. Barney, relieved to have a reasonable excuse for his clumsiness, agrees. But as they dance, the words of the song sung by the band's singer are accusing:

"You fool around on your baby

Now the least you can do,

Is to tell the truth

(yes, you in the suit!)

Or that secret will eat up your soouull!

Cause this secret is driving you crazy!

You can't live with this lie

Kevin's such a nice guy

You gotta tell them tonight

Tell them, right her on this floor!

You're like scum on the edge of a toilet-bowl

What the hell's in the place where you should have a soul?

You did these two wrong, don't wait too long

In fact, you know what? Tell 'em right here during this song!

(I'll wait . . . oh, c'mon, you're not going to tell them)"

Barney comes up to Robin and tells her that they must tell Kevin and Nora.

Ted and Marshall have a great deal of trouble finding the nacho bar. They have lost track of time – they feel like they have been gone for an hour, and Marshall is worried that Lily will be angry. They have several encounters with "creepy guitar guy" with a menacing glare, and end up in several lines (which always turn out to be the line to the women's restroom.) They are both still stumbling through a "sandwich" haze. "Creepy guitar guy" hands Ted some nachos, to his delight. As Marshall and Ted head back into the concert, they hear what they thing are the final notes as it wraps up. Marshall and Ted are dejected – time is going by too fast, they are getting old, and they aren't sure they are ready. Lily exits the concert and find Ted and Marshall on the floor, sad at the prospect of growing old and not having any "fun." They are surprised and happy when she tells them they have only been gone about two minutes – their "sandwich"-induced haze has altered their perception of time. Ted declares that life isn't going too fast. They still have time to do the things they want to do, and they return to the concert – where, after 10 minutes, they realize how bad the concert is and decide to leave.

Robin tries to break the news to Kevin, but before she can tell him, he is hit in the face by a drink tossed by an intern, who was aiming at Robin's lecherous boss and missed. As he is blinded, he falls and possibly has a concussion. Barney hasn't been able to break the news to Norah, either. Robin is regretful, and tells Barney she wishes that last night had never happened. A pause, and Barney, tells Robin firmly, "I don't. What if this whole thing isn't the story of how we both made a horrible mistake and ruined our relationships? What if it's actually the story of . . . how we got back together?" Robin is incredulous, and asks Barney one last time: "Is this what you want?" Barney tells her that it's what they both want – otherwise, they would not be rushing to tell Kevin and Nora so quickly. Robin is skeptical, since they have failed on one attempt, but Barney is convinced: "Let's face it, I've never stopped thinking about you, and you've never stopped thinking about me." Robin is unconvinced, proclaims she's a mess, and asks Barney why he even likes her. "Because, you're almost as messed up as I am" tells her. Barney suggests that they wait until they are off the boat, they tell Kevin and Nora what they need to tell them, and then meet at MacLaren's at midnight to talk about the two of them. Robin agrees.

Both Robin and Barney run into obstacles: At the hospital, Robin tries to tell Kevin, but he interrupts her and tells her that he loves her. As Barney and Nora enter her apartment, they are surprised by Nora's parents, who have arrived early. Nora's father is delighted to meet Barney, and to see how happy they are. "When you meet the right person, you know it – you can't stop thinking about them," he comments, as Barney has flashbacks to times he has spent with Robin: dancing at the wedding, laser tag, and pivotal kisses. Nora's father goes on to describe a perfect relationship as Nora smiles and squeezes Barney's hand happily, but Barney is more and more uncomfortable. As her father joins her mother in the kitchen, Barney quickly breaks the bad news to Nora that he has cheated on her, apologizes and tells her that he knows he won't have a second chance with her. When she asks if it's serious, he admits that it is.

At MacLaren's, it's a minute before midnight. Barney is at the bar with a drink as Ted, Lily and Marshall come in, and he tells them that he's not doing so well, he has just broken up with Nora. They are perfunctorily sympathetic, and Barney tells them that he thinks the worse is over. Just then, Robin walks into the bar. Barney's face lights up in welcome, only to freeze as smiling Kevin follows Robin in. Robin can't meet Barney's anxious eyes.

A flashback tells us that when Robin tried to tell Kevin, he refused to let her tell him, telling her that everyone has done things to hurt other people. Robin asks Kevin the same question she asked Barney: "I'm such a mess – why do you even like me?" Kevin replies with a smile: "I am constantly amazed by the things you say, entranced by the things you do . . . and you're easy on the eyes. if we're together long enough, I hope that one day you'll see yourself the way I see you." Robin smiles ruefully. "That's a pretty good answer," she says.

"Kids, sometimes hours can feel like minutes. And sometimes a single second can last a lifetime. For Barney, the second that would never end was this one . . . "

At the bar, Barney stands stunned and the group removes their coats and start to settle in the booth. The world freezes, and Robin looks at Barney and, with regret in her eyes, she gives him a tiny shake of the head. Barney is crushed, closes his eyes to collect himself, and then excuses himself. "It's been a tough night." Robin looks up at him and tells him, "I'm sorry…" "Don't be! It's nothing." Barney assures her with shaky confidence, and leaves.

Ted decides to call it a night and heads upstairs. As he enters the apartment, he glances at a light in Robin's bedroom. Perplexed, he peeks in. Barney, with a grim face barely holding back the tears, is frantically scooping up rose petals that he had carefully scattered all over Robin's bed earlier and blowing out the numerous candles he had lit to set the mood. Seeing the look of anguish on Barney's face, Ted tactfully and silently eases away to his own room.